Abstract

Understanding fluid distribution and movement in the subsurface is critical for a variety of subsurface applications, such as remediation of environmental contaminants, sequestration of nuclear waste and CO2, intrusion of saline water into fresh water aquifers, and the production of oil and gas. It is well recognized that characterizing the properties that control fluids in the subsurface with the accuracy and spatial coverage needed to parameterize flow and transport models is challenging using conventional borehole data alone. Integration of conventional borehole data with more spatially extensive geophysical data (obtained from the surface, between boreholes, and from surface to boreholes) shows promise for providing quantitative information about subsurface properties and processes. Typically, estimation of subsurface properties involves a two-step procedure in which geophysical data are first inverted and then integrated with direct measurements and petrophysical relationship information to estimate hydrological parameters. However, errors inherent to geophysical data acquisition and inversion approaches and errors associated with petrophysical relationships can decrease the value of geophysical data in the estimation procedure. In this paper, we illustrate using two examples how joint inversion approaches, or simultaneous inversion of geophysical and hydrological data, offer great potential for overcoming some of these limitations.

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